Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

178                                                                                RAPID POPULATION GROWTH-II
should keep in mind that usually population growth is less than one third of the rate of capital growth.) In a study by the author (5) it has been shown that the incremental capital output ratio varies, in almost all cases, inversely with the growth rate. Patel (6) shows this to be the case for developing countries. A reasonable inference from these studies is that in most cases neither capital nor labor of the existing quality is the major force in growth. Hence, we stress those qualities of the population that result in the improvement of the quality of labor through education and other means of skill acquisition, and those elements that lead to the introduction of innovations and technical change.*
Among the qualities of a population that are likely to be of importance in affecting productivity per worker is the responsiveness of the population to incentives. We may think of it in terms of the degree and directions of effort that the population is willing to put forth in response to the incentives that exist and those that it creates. The rate of population growth is in some sense related to these elements, at least in terms of the impact of differences in family size on nurture and education.
The basic idea to be developed is that human inputs, essentially varieties of labor including management and entrepreneurship, can put forth different degrees of effort in response to different incentives both within firms and in the economy at large. Effort should not be interpreted here in a narrow physical sense, although physical effort is one dimension.
Some of many possible dimensions of effort are listed below:
1.  various physical activities, each activity being a different dimension;
2.  the act of choosing between different activities;
3.  the degree of care in carrying out such activities;
4.  scanning the "information field" inside and outside the firm;
5.  various "search activities," i.e., looking for a new means of performance in terms of techniques of production or characteristics of the product;
6.  the degree of perseverance in carrying out activities;
7.  the degree of cooperation with co-workers.
Whereas all types of effort are important in production, it is probably true that the forces employed to introduce innovations are the ones that are most significant in promoting economic growth. Such efforts arc likely to involve the search for and development of information on new techniques of production and the marshaling of the other inputs required to introduce innovations. This last point is far from trivial. Knowledge of a potential innovation might not be sufficient to induce the entrepreneurial efforts to marshal all of the inputs necessary to put the innovation into effect. Whether the innovation